In a recent survey of 54 representatives from African civil society organizations and community groups, 76% reported previously accessing technical assistance (TA) to support their engagement in Global Fund processes. The survey was conducted in March 2017 by the Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination for Anglophone Africa, hosted by EANNASO. The Regional Platform forms part of the Global Fund’s Community, Right and Gender Special Initiative (CRG SI). Improving access to TA to support civil society and community groups to meaningfully engage in Global Fund processes is a key objective of the CRG SI.

Aidspan has been reporting on the CRG SI’s progress since 2015 (see GFO stories here, here, here and here). The survey is a follow-up needs assessment to one conducted in January 2015. Aidspan has previously reported on those results.

The survey includes perspectives on civil society and community engagement in Global Fund processes from 18 African countries: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

While 57% of survey respondents had heard about the CRG SI for 2014-2016, only 33% knew it had been renewed for $15 million over the 2017-2019 funding cycle (see GFO story). As the Fund has yet to issue requests for proposals for the next phase, this is not unsurprising.

Fifty-six percent of survey respondents knew that they could request TA from the Global Fund CRG department and its partners, which is a slight improvement from the 2016 survey findings (52%). However, respondents from key populations organizations were much less likely (25%) to know they could access Global Fund TA, compared to respondents from civil society organizations (CSOs) (67%) – a finding that is consistent with the 2016 survey. This knowledge gap may be particularly pronounced for transgender communities. Indeed, among male, female and transgender survey respondents, people who identified as transgender were the least likely to know they could access Global Fund TA (33%). These results underscore the continued need to increase knowledge of Global Fund TA among key populations.

Among those who have accessed Global Fund TA, the most commonly cited provider was the UNAIDS Technical Support Facility (TSF) for East and Southern Africa, located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Almost a third of all survey respondents have access TA through the TSF at some point in time (see figure).

                                  Figure: Number of survey respondents who accessed Global Fund TA from various providers

Source: What Communities Want: Informing the Global Fund’s Community, Rights and Gender Strategic Initiative in Anglophone Africa,
Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination, hosted by EANNASO, March 2017

EANNASO fighting to end TB in TanzaniaThis World TB Day, TB Europe Coalition is calling for world leaders to step up and support research and development into desperately needed new tools to fight tuberculosis amidst devastating predictions of the future impact of the epidemic.

New data prepared by KPMG highlights both the future human cost and economic impact of drug resistant TB to the world. In Europe alone, drug resistant TB is estimated to result in an astounding additional 2.1 million deaths in Europe by 2050, at an economic cost of US$1.1 trillion.

TB is the world’s leading cause of death from any infectious disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 10.4 million people fell ill with TB in 2015, and 1.8 million people died from the disease. Tuberculosis and drug resistant form of the disease are particularly a burden for low- and middle-income countries. However, this new data shows that these countries are not unique in being affected by TB, with responsibility falling on every country to act to end the disease.

TB bacteria have certain attributes which make them more likely to develop resistance to antibiotics.

fight against TB Momentum grows among advocates to end tuberculosisWashington, D.C. (Mar. 24) – World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, observed March 24th each year, comes with growing momentum among advocates to eradicate an ancient disease that continues to impact millions of people throughout the world. Alarmed by a steady rise in cases of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB; including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), advocates have become more targeted in their calls for greater investment in research that will lead to less toxic drugs, modern diagnostic tools, and shorter treatment regimens for people who contract the disease. These efforts are beginning to draw responses.

At the Ministerial Meeting Towards Ending TB in the South-East Asia Region, New Delhi, on March 16, 2017, anurgent call to action was signedby 11 health ministers, committing to scale-up efforts targeted at ending TB. The strongly worded document noted that TB remains the leading cause of death among all infectious diseases in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) South-East Asia Region, having claimed nearly 800,000 lives in 2015 alone.

The Community Rights and Gender (CRG) Advisory Group*, a body that provides advice to the Global Fund’s CRG Department, oversaw this independent review, which was carried out by the Community Action and Leadership Collaborative (CLAC)**, and led by MSMGF. Preliminary findings and recommendations were validated by more than 100 people through community consultations and interviews in seven countries:

Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Moldova, the Philippines, Suriname, and Tunisia – and nineteen community key informants from Morocco, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Armenia, Ethiopia Argentina, Tanzania Nepal, South Africa, Thailand, Costa Rica and Tunisia.

$55 million in catalytic funding is available to support HIV programmes among adolescent girls and young women in 13 countries
For the first time, gender equality is included as a top-line strategic objective in the Global Fund’s Strategy (2017-2022). HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in sub-Saharan Africa will be a strong focus for the Global Fund in the coming funding cycle (2017-2019).

This is something that the African constituencies strongly pushed for. The number of new HIV infections among AGYW remains exceptionally high, especially in sub-Saharan African countries. UNAIDS estimates that there were 450,000 new HIV infections among AGYW (15-24) in 2015 – that’s 8,600 new infections each week. In East and Southern Africa – the hardest hit region – HIV prevalence is 3.3% among young women (15-24), compared to 1.6% among their male peers. This disparity is strongly linked with social and structural factors, including gender inequality and gender-based violence.

New and ambitious global targets require greater HIV prevention efforts among AGYW. The 2016 United Nations Political Declaration on Ending AIDS sets a specific target to reduce new HIV infections among AGYW to fewer than 100,000 by 2020 – a 75% reduction from 2010.
“We are at a pivotal moment for women and girls everywhere,” said Heather Doyle, Senior Technical Advisor on Gender at the Global Fund. “In this environment, it is imperative that we in the global health community demonstrate measurable progress in our work to target women and adolescent girls.”

The initiative will expand access to technical assistance during the 2017-2019 grant cycle

The Global Fund will invest $15 million over the next three years (2017-2019) to bolster community responses, human rights and gender equality in its grants. The Board has approved this funding for a Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Strategic Initiative, building on progress made in strengthening engagement of civil society and community groups in Global Fund processes through the first CRG Special Initiative for 2014-2016 (see GFO articles here and here). The Global Fund’s Special Initiatives have been rebranded as “Strategic Initiatives” for the coming grant cycle.

The anticipated impact for the CRG Strategic Initiative from 2017-2019 will be to:  

  • Strengthen the meaningful engagement of community and civil society in Global Fund processes across all stages in the grant cycle.
  • Better reflect civil society and community priorities in concept notes, transition planning and related national strategies.
  • Provide greater emphasis on evidence-informed and rights-based programming demonstrated in Global Fund grants.
  • Identify the critical technical assistance needs of community and civil society key stakeholders.
  • Strengthen community and civil society’s capacity to design and deliver quality technical support.

The CRG Strategic Initiative for 2017-2019 will have the same three components as the 2014-2016 CRG Special Initiative: technical assistance (TA) programs, capacity-building of key population networks on Global Fund processes, and regional civil society and community communication and coordination platforms. It is not yet known if the same technical assistance providers, regional platform hosts and key populations networks will continue on as partners for the new CRG Strategic Initiative.